Challenging Proverbs

Chapters 10 to 29 of Proverbs pose two particular challenges for the discerning Bible summariser:

Firstly, the lack of structure.

Chapters 1 to 9 have a very coherent overall theme - wisdom against folly - and each chapter develops an aspect of the theme. By contrast, in chapters 10 to 29 there are about a dozen main themes, which are mixed together verse by verse with no apparent order.

My method for the project so far has been to build a summary around the key themes of each chapter. But there don't seem to be themes in these chapters!

Secondly, the irreducibility of a proverb.

Individual proverbs are actually very well suited to Twitter as a medium. Most proverbs are 140 characters or less, and they convey a single, clear idea through a pair of contrasting examples.

But I'm trying to summarise an entire chapter of proverbs in each tweet. It's very difficult to reduce the length of a proverb without losing precisely the grit that makes it profound in the first place.

So, what am I going to do?

I think I'm just going to pick the three or four images that strike me most from each chapter. I'll look for proverbs that capture the heart of one of the broader themes within the book, and over the course of the 20 chapters I'll aim to cover all the main themes.

I won't even try to preserve the pair-of-contrasting-examples form.

It will be interesting to see whether this exercise reveals structure that I haven't noticed before, or whether I'll be left feeling more than ever that it's impossible to do justice to Scripture within the constraints that I've imposed.

Tags: progress themes

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Chris Juby

I summarised all 1,189 chapters of the Bible on Twitter - one tweet per chapter, one chapter per day for over three years.

Click ☰Summaries above to view the archive.

Find out about the project here, you can buy the Bible Summary book on Kindle or in paperback, and feel free to get in contact if you have any comments or questions.

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